FORT LAUDERDALE -- Good Tuesday morning and Happy New Year, everyone! May 2013 bring you and those close to you life, happiness, health and fun, fun memories. The past 366 days definitely brought some semblance of each of those things to Florida State. Maybe the next 365 will be even better for the Seminoles.
If you read Sunday's blog on FSU's visit to the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital here in South Florida, you saw that the school's football players brought each of those things -- life, happiness, health and fun memories -- to a group of kids who needed all of them the most.
On the playing fields and courts and diamonds and pitches, the Seminoles created several happy memories for themselves in 2012, as well. They also had their share of not-so-good ones. Championships were won in the year; heartbreak, at times, defined it, too.
Now, today, on New Year's Day 2013, a new script gets to be written. As a new calendar year begins, the old one will come to an official end when the football version of the Seminoles take on Northern Illinois in a BCS bowl game. A win could validate coach Jimbo Fisher's claims that his program is well on its way toward returning to the type of national dominance and years of glory that once defined the college football dynasty.
Naturally, if the Seminoles beat the Huskies in Tuesday night's Orange Bowl, there still will be questions about what a 12-win, conference-championship season really meant in the grand scope of things. Was the year really a success? Could the Seminoles have done more to make it even more of one?
Those points will be debated until FSU finally plays in a game held well past New Year's that has a crystal-ball trophy on the line.
Until then, the doubters, perhaps with good reason, will persist.
For now, though, the focus is simple. The objective is in sight. The Orange Bowl is finally here, and it is the only thing the Seminoles and Huskies were focused on when they woke up, and it will be all they think about until a new day dawns.
As you prepare to watch the bowl game, enjoy this photo just like I've enjoyed my week here in South Florida. Also, make sure you check back to OrlandoSentinel.com throughout the day and night in order to follow the game's action in a live, running game story. We'll also be chatting on Twitter before, after and during. Video and stories and blogs galore also will be on the website during and after the game. You'll have plenty to check out.
Again, here's to a new year, new life, beaches, warm weather ... and football.
Best wishes in 2013, my friends.
FSU vs. NIU, 8:30 p.m., ESPN.